The Burton Center for Arts and Technology’s welding and automotive classes were part of the Alternative Fuel Expo held at Virginia Western Friday, October 22. They displayed an electric motorcycle owned by Williams Electric in Roanoke, the school-built drag car, and their alternative fuel project this year – a motorcycle that runs on propane and gas.
The Honda CB 125 commuter bike doesn’t look much different than it did when the Burton Automotive students started working on it in the beginning of this school year, but it will run on either propane or gas now.
“It’s just a clean burn – easier on the engine and everything,” said Hidden Valley student Michael Valentine.
“It does smell a little funny,” said Glenvar student Caleb Garman. “But only if you’re in a closed garage, really. Outside you can’t really smell it.”
Leaving the original motor still intact and nearly the same as before, the students changed out one of the jet carburetors and put a regulator in for the propane. They had to add a new intake as well as securing the 16.4 ounce cylinder/tank of propane under the seat. According to the students, One tank of propane, the kind often used to power camping cookware or lanterns, costs about $4 and can last for 40 to 50 miles. A gallon of gas only lasts it for 30 to 40 miles. A switch on the side of the bike near the gas tank controls which kind of fuel the motorcycle uses.
While automotive instructor Joe Moore says they haven’t tested the bike’s mileage for propane yet, he thinks it will be less than what a gallon of gas would run for (30 to 40 miles). A switch on the side of the bike near the gas tank controls which kind of fuel the motorcycle uses.
“The auto class had the idea but a lot of the fabrication and welding work was done by students of the welding class. It was a very good team effort on our students’ part,” said Moore.
Other presentations included the Edison2 ($5,000,000 prize winning 100+ mpge vehicle), a GM hydrogen fuel cell vehicle (NASA technology in a car), a geothermal technology display, Multiple hybrid vehicle designs, and a wind power display.
**Note: this article was edited at 1:15 p.m. November 1. The propane tank’s mileage with the bike hasn’t been tested, but instructor Joe Moore says it would probably be less than a tank of gasoline’s mileage.